Review 2005

Annette C Arrigucci

I've always had a great admiration for the printed word. I've been a reader of books, magazines, and newspapers for most of my life. I've read the El Paso Times, my city newspaper, nearly every day since I was nine years old. It was a ritual imparted to me by my dad. Every morning before work he would eat cereal and read the paper. Wanting to be just like him, I would do the same before I left for school. Over breakfast, my dad and I would divide up the sections so each of us would have something to read.

The newspaper was gospel to me growing up. I loved reading the editorials and columnists, and, of course, the features and comics section. Later on, I developed a taste for hard news. I remember reading the reporters' bylines and wondering what their lives were like, imagining how exciting it would be to be out there in the city covering important news and writing about it for a living. It was my earliest career aspiration- the way other kids wanted to be astronauts and firemen, I wanted to be a reporter.

College went by, and I pursued other, more practical interests, eventually earning a degree in computer science. But somehow my childhood fascination with working in news was still in the back of my mind. In May of this year, I applied for a news assistant job at the sports desk of the El Paso Times (not because I'm a huge sports fan but because it was the only job opening that didn't require years of experience). I applied for the job on a whim and thought nothing would come of it, that a hard-boiled sports editor would see my resume, have a good laugh, then crumple it up and toss it in the garbage can next to his desk. I was happily surprised when I was offered the job without so much as an interview.

I remember how excited I was my first night of work. I entered the newspaper building and felt an almost religious sense of awe- here was the institution I had admired for so many years. The rotunda at the center entrance of the building made me feel as if I were in a cathedral. On every wall there were photos and memorabilia of 19th-century El Paso. I even loved the smell of it- very brisk and official. I went up a flight of stairs into the newsroom. Though most of the reporters had gone home for the evening, I could feel the energy circulating among the rows of cubicles decorated with photos and political cartoons. This was where the news was put together. A year earlier, I never would have imagined that I would be there. It wasn't in the role of reporter, the way I had envisioned when I was younger, but it was close enough. I was going to be a part of the news, and the idea of that thrilled me.

Since that first night, working at the newspaper has not disappointed. My work is mainly limited to copy editing, so I don't get to write articles (yet), but I've gotten to know well the rush of meeting a deadline. I've experienced the satisfaction of knowing that the work I do is going to be seen by thousands of people and that it will be a useful part of their lives. Plus the sportswriters I work with are the most hilarious people alive, and it's a real kick to work among the frenetic phone calls and furious typing as they hurry to finish their stories. I don't know if this experience will end up changing the course of my life or will end up being just an interesting diversion, but it has definitely opened up some new career possibilities for me besides adding some much-needed excitement to my life. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had this year to do something I've dreamed about for so long.

Annette C Arrigucci writes for the El Paso Times

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

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